31 March 2010

Flat Stanley

Dear Eva,

Hello pen pal! I received your friend Flat Stanley in the mail last week. It was so nice to meet him and show him around my city. Any friend of Eva's is a friend of mine. Not only was Flat Stanley visiting us, but my friend Irish Suzanne was here too. She and Flat Stanley got along swimmingly and the three of us headed out into town to see the sites. And thus began the adventures of Flat Stanley from Albany, Irish Suzanne from Dublin and Plain ol' Kelly in Vienna. I hope you like the photos we took. If you want to see more detail on any of them just click the picture.

Our first stop was Stephansplatz (or St. Stephan's Square), the center of Vienna. Flat Stanley poses in front of Stephansdom (or St. Stephan's Church), a gothic cathedral built in 1359. My favorite part is the tiled roof.

From Stephansplatz we walked down a pedestrian only street (no cars!) called The Graben. The word Graben means ditch in German and this street used to be a long, deep, ditch dug around the Roman settlement here two thousand years ago, before the city of Vienna even existed! The Romans called their settlement Vindabona and the ditch was to keep out invaders and protect the people living there. The photo above of Flat Stanley is in front of Peterskirche (St. Peter's Church) which is on The Graben and was built in 1733.

Our next stop was The Winter Palace, also called The Hofburg. This is where a family called the Habsburgs lived and ruled Austria from for over 600 years! The Habsburgs were one of the oldest and most powerful empires in Europe up through World War I and their palace has lots of different buildings built by different emperors in different centuries. It's really big and impressive! Tons of history at this place. The palace now houses the President of Austria's office and a bunch of neat museums.

Here Irish Suzanne and Flat Stanley are in another area of The Hofburg. Flat Stanley got tired of walking so Irish Suzanne carried him on her shoulders for a while.

The Hofburg has lots of huge marble statues and fountains all over. Flat Stanley thought the faces on this one were funny.

I don't have a car here but that's no problem because Vienna has plenty of choices when it comes to public transportation. They have subways, regular trains, streetcar trolleys and buses. The subway is called the Ubahn and Flat Stanley quickly learned that there's usually one close by in Vienna. All you have to do is look for the big white U on a blue background and you've found yourself an Ubahn stop.

And here's Flat Stanley waiting with us for a streetcar. Strassenbahn Haltestelle means streetcar stop in German.

Irish Suzanne and Flat Stanley got along so well during our site seeing day that she gave him a little kiss on the cheek while we rode the strassenbahn to....

The Rathaus, which mans City Hall in German and has nothing to do with rats. I like the spires.

Vienna is famous for a lot of things. One of them is coffee houses. They are cozy and comfy and serve lots of kinds of coffees, teas & hot chocolates. Irish Suzanne, Flat Stanley and I took a break from our Vienna tour to enjoy one of my favorite coffee houses, called Café Hawelka. This place has been open since 1939 and was a favorite hang out of artists and writers for years. You can sit, relax, sip your coffee, chat or read for as long as you like in a Vienna café.

Vienna is also famous for being a center of classical music. Famous composers such as Beethoven, Strauss and Mozart lived in the city for years writing some of the most well known and beautiful classical music and operas. Here Flat Stanley and I pose in front of a Mozart statue. Sometimes I walk around Vienna listening to Mozart's music on my ipod and wonder what the city was like when he lived here in the 1780's.

I bet there were a lot of horse and carriages back then.

If you want to see a classical music concert you can find guys on the street dressed like Mozart selling tickets. Flat Stanley met one of them and learned about some famous composers.

We were getting a little tired at this point and Flat Stanley didn't have a tux so we all decided to skip a concert, save some money, and just do some more wandering. We did visit the Vienna Opera House and the Burg Theater (pictured above) to see some of the beautiful buildings where these concerts take place.

The three of us had a wonderful day. We were tired when we were done! Flat Stanley even took a little nap on the steps of the parliament building. We traveled on buses, subways and streetcars. We learned some German words and some Austrian history. We saw beautiful buildings, enjoyed a pretty spring day, learned about music and had a lot of laughs. Thanks Eva, for sending Flat Stanley over to visit. He is welcome to come back anytime.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You sure showed Flat Stanley a great time! I want someone to put ME in an envelope and send me to Vienna!

xo NYC Shirl